Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just plug it in and scream.

First you have to tear open the shrink wrap. Just have scissors and bandages ready)--Here’s a fun one. Think of the 25 worst technological inventions of the electronics age. The people at PC World did and you may agree or find your own. (They, by the way, headline their story “The Worst Tech Products of All Time” as if the gas-powered leaf blowers, electric chairs and crock pots were not technology). Their list includes lots of stuff only geeks would know about (Ashton-Tate's d BASE IV, to name one, a $795 data base program up grade so bad it drove the company out of business in two years) and I don’t even know what Presspay and Musicnet are. But some candidates are obvious and uncontroversial.

Number one on the list has to be--and is--AOL. [You knew that was coming somehow, huh?] Sometimes known as the Internet for Idiots or the Web With Training Wheels. It was a con job from the start (1989), with “awful software, inaccessible dial-up numbers, rapacious marketing, in-your-face advertising, questionable billing practices, inexcusably poor customer service, and enough spam to last a lifetime.” Remember when AOL CDs seemed to fall from trees? I know someone who decorated a huge Christmas tree with them. That’s only the start. Even trying to cancel was so bad they got hit with a law suit in New York State and had to pay $1.25 million, but that only covers New York customers. It walled off its customers from the Web until they rebelled. It still is clunky and unnecessary.

Others on the list include: RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999) which simply didn’t work; Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000), which was even worse than every other Windows; Sony BMG Music CDs that hacked your computer when you weren’t looking (see here); Disney’s Lion King CD (1994), which didn’t work on many computers because of problems with the Microsoft software; Microsoft Internet Explorer (2001), still in use by most users and still dangerous to use and three generations behind everything else out there [do we see a pattern here?], the IBM PCJr, which was useless [God, I forgot about that one], the anniversary PCs from both Gateway and Apple, overpriced and marketing disasters; and the Mac Portable (1989), which was portable only if you pumped iron in our spare time.

Oh, and anything shrink-wrapped.

You are welcome to add your own. Love to hear from you.

And for some really cool moments, may I refer you to this, from wimp.com


1 comment:

Freudian Slip said...

Funny read. My friend still has AOL and I just can't get him to see the light. "Con job from the start", lol!